Alex held Xanthe in his arms, panting hard as he ran through the corridors of the HQ. The Roserade was close to passing out from battling so many of Team Aqua's Pokémon. The little guy had done a wonderful job, defeating seven foes without any items. But damnit! How did those bastards find the entrance to their base?!
He hurriedly got out a Hyper Potion, spraying Xanthe's wounds with it. They kept running as he finished off the entire bottle, restoring his HP to maximum. Alex smiled down at him, patting his head.
"C'mon! I just heard something from this way!" He turned left, spotting a Team Aqua member right off the bat. "Hey! You!" He called out, causing the other man to turn around quickly. "Get out of our base! Now!"
"No! You have something that belongs to us!" The striped-shirt man reached for his belt, pulling a PokéBall off of it and pushing the button to enlarge it. Alex glared his way, recognizing the stance for a battle and taking his own.
"Go, Xanthe." He spoke calmly, not looking from the other trainer. The Roserade nodded, taking his place in front of the man.
The opposing Team Aqua grunt sent out a fierce-looking Mightyena. The canine bared her teeth and gave a deep growl from the back of her throat. Her trainer ordered a Fire Fang attack. She obeyed without a second thought, but Alex and Xanthe were just a bit faster. A Grass Knot was all it took to stop the Mightyena dead in her tracks, and a Venoshock finished her off easily.
The second a Milotic was sent out as a replacement, it was defeated as a well-placed Grass Knot used her own weight against her, sending her slamming down to the ground.
"Damnit…" the Aqua grunt muttered under his breath, returning the serpent to her DiveBall. "Only one left, and I have a type disadvantage…" He took a DuskBall from his belt, and threw it in the air…
Xanthe gasped, backing up a step or two.
It was a Cacturne.
Not only that, but Ferroco! The eye patch and the way he held himself...it had to be! But it was so surreal, seeing his friend wearing that bandana and long scarf…
"...Ferroco...?" Xanthe asked, pulling down his hood just in case the shadows cast across his eyes were playing tricks on him.
"What are you doing, Xanthe? Use Venoshock!" Alex yelled. He had apparently been trying to order the Roserade to attack for a few moments now. But he couldn't... he simply couldn't...
Ferroco's situation was no different; Kinsho had yelled "Dark Pulse" at least 3 times. The Cacturne found himself forced to choose between Xanthe and his loyalty to Team Aqua, as well as his trainer…
"Arceus damnit, Ferroco! MOVE!"
The plant in question let his arms fall to his sides. Slowly, he turned his head to look at his trainer out of the corner of his good eye. Their gazes locked for a moment before the Cacturne shook his head in refusal.
Xanthe stared at Ferroco for a moment before being shaken from his shock by his trainer suddenly slapping a hand on his shoulder, drawing his attention. Alex was currently glaring at Ferroco and the other human.
"Looks like his Pokemon isn't attacking either..." he spoke quietly before looking down at Xanthe. "Is something wrong? Why aren't you attacking?"
Xanthe just grimaced up at him with sad eyes before shaking his head rapidly, backing up another step as if to convey the message of not wanting to fight anymore.
Suddenly the radio on the man's hip beeped loudly. "Some damn kid just defeated the boss! Everyone retreat! Now!" A voice boomed through.
"...Desole..." Xanthe mumbled quietly before turning and running off after his trainer down the corridor…
"I'll deal with you later," Kinsho muttered under his breath through gritted teeth, returning his "prized" companion to his DuskBall and taking off along with the rest of Team Aqua.
Alex sighed heavily, looking over to Xanthe. They were in their quarters, deep inside the inactive volcano. The little Roserade hadn't been the same since he'd seen that Cacturne. He patted his head soothingly, barely receiving a reaction from the Grass-type.
Nothing. He turned the Pokémon toward him, effectively making the other look at him.
"Were you scared? Was that it?"
The Roserade blinked at him a few times before shaking his head 'no'.
"Then what was it?" He gave up, bringing the small plant Pokémon closer. "Sheesh, it's times like these that I wish Pokemon and humans spoke the same language..."
Xanthe stared off into space, still trying to process what had happened back there. Ferroco... was part of Team Aqua.
It took some work, but Ferroco was able to slip out of HQ unseen and make it back to the foot of Mt. Chimney that night, after a thorough chewing out from Kinsho. With any luck, Xanthe would be there. Since the cat was already out of the bag, he saw no point in hiding his uniform from him anymore. A sudden breeze picked the ends of his scarf up off the ground and made it billow beside him as he rounded the same familiar corner of the volcano, praying that the Roserade would be there.
Xanthe bit his lip, looking at the ground from where he sat on a high rock. He pulled his hood down, rubbing the back of his neck. The Poison-type had been sitting out there for an hour or so, waiting to see whether Ferroco would show up. He sighed, willing the throb in his throat away. To say he was devastated was an understatement…
The Cacturne went unnoticed until he stood directly in front of the smaller Pokémon, looking up at him slightly because of where he was perched. The younger gasped, straightening.
"You...you actually came..." he spoke barely above a whisper. The lump in his throat would've been clearly audible if he had spoken even a decibel more than that.
"Por supuesto. Should I not have?" Ferroco cautioned. "If so, then I understand…" he trailed off.
The Roserade stared disconnectedly at the bandana on Ferroco's head. Seeing the Team Aqua symbol that was there made the situation all the more real. He looked away, chewing on the inside of his lip again. "Mais I was waiting for you..."
"Bien, then I'll stay." He took a step closer.
Xanthe wasn't sure what to do. A part of him wanted to yell at the Cacturne and ask why; why he never told him, why he lied to him, why he came back even though they now know about one another…
But another part of him wanted to jump down, wrap his arms around Ferroco, and kiss him full on. He couldn't deny his attraction to the older male. Even if they were supposed to be enemies he felt as if they should throw caution to the wind.
For the moment he kept his eyes glued to a tree to the right of the other male, refusing to look down at him in fear that he would say or do something terrible.
"I'm, uh… I'm sure you have a few questions…" The Spaniard stepped back to his former distance when Xanthe didn't say anything for a moment.
The Roserade nodded, still not looking at the other. "... Did you already know about me being on Team Magma...? Were you pretending this whole time so that you could use me to find the base...?" he continued to speak barely above a whisper.
"No, I honestly had no idea you were with Team Magma," Ferroco answered quickly. "I didn't even know the base was here. I was sent here to search the volcano for Team Magma's base in case it was here, or for any other kind of suspicious activity that might've been going on." His tone slowed.
"I just happened to meet you while I was here. I swear it."
"Then why lie about living in the desert?" He glanced at him for a second before looking back at the trees. "I can understand you not telling me that you were on Team Aqua, but why go out of your way to make sure I didn't know that you have a trainer?"
"Actualmente… not all of it was a lie," Ferroco glanced away. "I really did live in Route 111 my whole life until I was captured about a year and a half ago. You were right, though; I wasn't entirely content there…" He shrugged in a guilty manner. "The most credible lies always have some truth in them."
"Oh..." He thought about that for a minute or two before commenting lightly with feigned, cheerful smile. "All I told you was the truth about me. I just left out the fact that my trainer was part of Team Magma." His tone was light, but the choking feeling in his throat could be heard in the slight tremor his voice held. "I just have one more question..." He gazed down at Ferroco with watery eyes, a sad, wistful smile on his face.
"Where do we go from here?"
"Ay, good question…" The Cacturne heaved a sigh, putting a hand to the back of his neck. In the long run, things probably would've been better for both of them if they just went back to their trainers and forgot anything had ever happened…
Xanthe could feel his hands shake, minutely rustling the red and blue petals on his right hand. The odds were stacked so far up against them... Any sort of friendship was forbidden between the two teams. So of course they'd probably be dumped in the wild to fend for themselves or something if any of their team members found out what they were doing. It was impossible...
"Yo no se…" Ferroco shook his head. "I don't know what we should do from here…"
He hopped down from the rock, wrapping his arms around Ferroco's middle and hugging him tightly.
"Xanthe…" The taller one returned it, having to crouch down a little.
The smaller stayed like that for a moment before breaking out into a sob. "Why did we have to be on opposite sides..." he murmured before pressing his lips to Ferroco's. After a moment he backed away.
"... We can't see each other anymore..." he cried, breaking apart from him and sprinting off into the night.
Ferroco stood in place for a minute, unsure of what to think. He didn't even get to say goodbye before Xanthe ran off, too far away to see or hear any sign of him…
He'd have to be back in his DuskBall before morning. It was best that he get moving; he had a lot of ground to cover. He stowed his scarf and bandana under his regular hat and set off in the direction opposite from where Xanthe had gone.
"Maldito sea… He isn't here…"
Ferroco had searched the entire outside of Mt. Chimney for hours and found nothing but rough, cold stones. What was worse, the sun would be up soon. If he wasn't back in his DuskBall before Kinsho woke up, he'd be in even more trouble than he already was. Maybe…
"Bien. If he isn't here tomorrow night or the night after, then he really doesn't want to see me again," the Cacturne concluded aloud, turning away from the volcano.
'And I'll just… have to deal with that.'